Thursday 27 October 2016

Sam Allardyce on the brink of being appointed England boss

Published 21/07/2016 | 04:36

Sam Allardyce was present at Sunderland's pre-season game on Wednesday night
Sam Allardyce was present at Sunderland's pre-season game on Wednesday night

Sam Allardyce's imminent appointment as England manager was discussed at Thursday's Football Association board meeting, leaving only final negotiations between the 61-year-old and his dream job.

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The FA's three-man selection panel, consisting chief executive Martin Glenn, vice-chairman David Gill and technical director Dan Ashworth, presented the findings of their three-week search to the rest of the board at Wembley and explained why Sunderland boss Allardyce had been selected as Roy Hodgson's successor.

Steve Bruce, who was interviewed earlier this week, Eddie Howe and Jurgen Klinsmann are the other names to have been seriously considered by the trio, while Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger gave no indication he would be willing to accept the role.

All that now stands between Allardyce and the role he first pitched for a decade ago, when he lost out to Steve McClaren, is the completion of personal terms and a compensation package for the Black Cats.

Allardyce is unlikely to bring any of his Sunderland backroom team with him, having accepted a series of club appointees when he arrived last season.

That removes one possible stumbling block, while some of his favoured deputies such as Neil McDonald and Mark Taylor are available.

So too is Teddy Sheringham, who worked as attacking coach under Allardyce at West Ham and would fit the FA's desire to have a distinguished former international in the set-up.

The meeting represented Greg Dyke's final day as FA chairman after three years and, although he was not involved in the headhunting process, he indicated there would be unanimous support for Allarydce once his nomination was confirmed .

Speaking to Sky Sports News as he arrived at the national stadium, he said: "Clearly the three-man group are convinced he's the right man and I go along with that, yes.

"We appointed a three-man committee to go out and look at all the candidates, come back with a recommendation who they thought was the best man. They've taken that decision and obviously we'll agree with them.

"I think you'd have to ask them but as far as I understand it that's the discussion."

All parties would prefer for a swift resolution, with the new Premier League season on the horizon and England's World Cup qualifying campaign beginning on September 4 , but Sunderland have made clear their dissatisfaction with the process.

While they gave permission for the FA to speak to their manager, there is disappointment that what had been designed as a secret interview emerged last week, leaving the club in limbo as the process continued.

Allardyce took charge of the Wearsiders for what should be the final time during a 3-0 friendly win over Hartlepool on Wednesday night, but did not re-emerge for the second half.

At the conclusion of the match, a club statement read: "Naturally we are aware of the intense media speculation this evening. However at the present time, Sam Allardyce remains our manager.

"We share in the anger and frustration of our supporters and would like to assure them that we are working to conclude the matter in the best interests of Sunderland AFC."

The board meeting, scheduled to begin at 10am, was in the diary long before Hodgson stepped down following the side's Euro 2016 disappointment.

It is thought Allardyce will be offered an initial two-year deal, covering the 2018 World Cup campaign, but Glenn is hoping for a longer partnership than that and intends to integrate Allardyce into the wider FA system, working alongside coaches of the national age-group sides from Under-16s up.

Speaking on Wednesday Glenn defended the timing of the process, despite coming under pressure from both Sunderland and Hull, Bruce's employers, to act quickly.

"It's been three weeks. Is three weeks a long period of time? If we'd have done a knee-jerk and done it in three days, we'd have been rightly accused of knee-jerking," he said.

"We're taking an appropriate amount of time. Of course we're concerned about how individual clubs manage, etc. We aren't blind to that, we just need to make the right decision."

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has backed Allardyce to succeed.

When the Swede left his post 10 years ago, Allardyce came second to McClaren in the race to succeed him but is now within touching distance of his dream job.

Eriksson, who led England to three successive major tournament quarter-finals, does not see the fact Allardyce has hitherto worked at non-elite clubs like Bolton, West Ham, Blackburn and Sunderland.

Eriksson said: "If you take a team from the lower part of the table you have to adapt to what you want to do.

"You have to defend and have to be organised. I think it depends on the situation.

"Many times Sam has had a team struggling for survival and he has done the job."

Once in the position, Allardyce will find himself open to front-page headlines as well as back-page, something that Eriksson knows only too well.

He added on Sky Sports News: "He doesn't need any advice, I know for a long time that he has wanted that job.

"He knows the English press as well as I know them, so that is the hardest part - not the hardest part but it's the least pleasant part of the job."

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